List of Ministers’ Interests and Ministerial Code - Commons Urgent Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:35 pm on 25 April 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development), Shadow Spokesperson (Devolved Issues) 3:35, 25 April 2023

My Lords, for the avoidance of doubt for the Minister, the Question is in two parts, about first the ministerial register of interests, and secondly the Ministerial Code, and my question is specifically about the Ministerial Code. She will know that finally the Prime Minister has appointed an ethics adviser. Officially the adviser’s title is “the independent adviser on ministerial interests”, but I ask whether she considers the job title somewhat misleading. Only the Prime Minister can decide to initiate an investigation and only the Prime Minister has a veto as the sole arbiter of whether the code has been broken. Either the adviser has the independence that the job title implies, or at minimum should be able to investigate. In the interests of integrity and clarity, should the job title not be changed to “the Prime Minister’s adviser on ministerial interests”? It is very hard to see where the independence applies. Will the Minister tell the House whether she considers that change to be appropriate?